Is Your Home Smarter Than its Building Materials?
Smart Technology in the Concrete Industry
From controlling everything including your lights and laundry via your smartphone, to your Amazon Alexa randomly laughing in what some call a very creepy manner, IoT is everywhere. Not only is it surrounding us in our modern homes, it’s present right from the get-go in the production, delivery, placement, and use of concrete.
Contractors and construction companies are using IoT, software as a service (SaaS) models, and concrete sensors to organize and track everything from concrete mix design, deliveries, efficiency, and concrete placement and performance. As IoT technologies are infiltrating concrete plants, they are also making their way into ready-mix trucks and onto the job site.
Only in recent years have producers been able to better start tracking and accurately maintaining concrete quality during its trip to the job site with the use of IoT devices and sensors. In the past, there was no avoiding discrepancies as we were relying solely on human action to track information that can affect the concrete mix, like water added to the mix or extended delays due to traffic. It’s no secret that things can easily be forgotten when filling out the delivery ticket, where all the information about the trip and mix is recorded. With the more advanced systems utilizing smart devices, companies have seen improved efficiency and quality control.
More Than GPS in Mix Trucks
With the fast evolution of technology, we are seeing new devices being developed that have the ability to track truck activity as well as the properties of the materials they are transporting.
In-drum workability sensors are being fixed onto the inside wall of the mixer truck’s drum and are able to measure angle, speed, temperature, and load information, which is then wirelessly transmitted to an onboard computer. This computer can then calculate valuable information, such as slump and concrete volume, and transmit it to a display or cloud platform.
Sensors called load cells have the ability to calculate and keep track of weight in the mixer drum in order to relay information to truck drivers and concrete producers. Flow meters are attached to the tank’s auxiliary and are able to record and report on water being added to the mix.
Other devices are conceived to track the actual happenings of the trucks and communicate any important information to the cloud or in certain cases to emergency responders. Thanks to these devices, producers are able to know about any problems with the trucks and deliveries before they return to the concrete plant and act quickly to remediate the issues.
Tracking More than Concrete Delivery
Yes, driver and delivery monitoring are extremely important and the added visibility and quality control capabilities during the delivery process have helped increase efficiency and reduce the margin for error, but what happens after the delivery and how it is monitored is equally important. Using smart concrete sensors such as SmartRock2™ sensors during placement and curing can save you weeks of time on bigger projects. These sensors are fully embedded and benefit from wireless technology allowing you to gather concrete temperature and strength data, according to the ASTM C1074 maturity concept, on your smartphone or tablet in real time.
Taking Concrete Sensors to Another Level
Contractors can now opt to work with select ready mix producers that have adopted the Smart Concrete™ business model. Unlike choosing to buy the SmartRock2™ sensors and implementing the monitoring system themselves, when contractors choose Smart Concrete™ producers, they no longer have to worry about preforming mix calibrations prior to using the Giatec concrete sensors and are able to eliminate or drastically reduce the need for concrete break tests. With this technology, contractors can choose a producer’s pre-calibrated mix in the dedicated Android and iOS app and have concrete temperature and maturity data at their fingertips, in real time. With this information they are able to act on this information to get their projects moving faster.